Ok, so we're doing this totally uninteresting thing where I have bought personal care products and then alternatively rave or bitch about them. It will take ages, so be prepared.
Nobody's paying me to say anything and if I go broke in search of the best all-natural deodorant that smells good, doesn't stain clothing, has a nice texture and actually works, I will moan about it in the privacy of my own blog. And I have tried lots of different deodorants with varying degrees of success. My mum always uses "the rock", most classic of natural deodorants and (for me at least) completely ineffective. I used the Citrus one from Weleda for quite some time, and that worked perfectly, as long as I sprayed about half a bottle under my arms each morning. It smells really nice and keeps you fresh, but not if you get that thing where you run around stressed and nervous. My sister uses the rose one, which works better but also smells so strong that I don't like wearing it. It lasts her for at least three months, so in the end it's not that expensive. I also tried an Urtekram rock-with-scent-solution for some time, which didn't always work, and a Hauschka cream-thing that did. But with both of them, every time I'd start to sweat I'd suddenly start smelling of soapy stuff and meadows of flowers (or alternatively: something virile, herby and pungent if I took the "male" version to avoid the sickly flowers). I also tried the more and less natural versions of Lush's deodorants, with the least natural working best by far, but then I smelled of patchouli and it was just a bit too hippy. It's not that nice when people smell your hippy-armpits coming for miles (but better then them smelling your sweaty armpits for miles). In the end, I decided on something with similar ingredients (though this one does has the alzheimer-aluminium) that smells a little bit more neutral. It's still sweet flowers, but because it also smells a bit cool and matches with both my citrus and my smokey perfume, I am ok with it. It is vegetarian, not vegan. My toothpaste, dental floss, vitamins and nail polish remover suffer the same fate, but everyone makes choices and these are mine. I am uncomfortably ignoring issues like paint and photography and glue, but sometimes those things are just not available without ground up pig and then you just have to deal. Trust me, I checked.
Another surprise was that it's doable to make a good vegan deodorant at home. It works as good as any commercially made "all natural" one, with an important pro: you can scent it however you want and tweak the recipe to fit your needs. It's actually a home-made version of a cream I found on Etsy. Ok, that one is better, but it is also staggeringly expensive. I do sometimes use a similar set of essential oils because the tea tree and mint do work and are antibacterial. But I've also made it with a few drops of perfume added in, and that works as well. The bonus is then that you don't smell like five different things on one person. I never like smelling very strongly, and smelling very strongly of 5 different things at once usually gives me a headache or a bit of a sick feeling. The only con the home-made one has is that it sometimes leaves tiny white flecks of cornstarch in the jersey of your t-shirts. This is of course extra visible when most of your shirts are black. But on the bright side: it does not leave any stains.
Which brings us to my latest find: Revolver. I ordered a gift-pack from North Coast Organics, because I wanted to try them and I knew my sister would like the flowery massage bar. As I guessed, I adore Revolver's scent. I don't think I like Death by Lavender, but Naked has it's charms (though it does have a sweet coconutty smell). Revolver is a bit resiny and not overpoweringly masculine. It smells woody with a hint of something cool like peppermint and quite some coconut. But it isn't tropical, it just smells natural in the best sense of that word. I think this scent is traditionally thought of as male, but the lavender one is flowery but also "cooler", so take your pick. And it's more then subtle enough for whoever wants to wear it, regardless of their gender, if they want something different then the usual overpowering cucumber-sandalwood-fruity-motoroil-uspects.
HOWEVER: it makes the most horrible stains in clothing. I wore one of my favorite dresses, and then my favorite summer outfit and then my only light-colored t-shirt and there was gunk on all of them. I nearly didn't get it out of my favorite t-shirt, so that's not good. I use it when I wear things without tight sleeves, when I am sitting around the house in one of the gentleman's shirts that are so much more comfortable than the tight stuff supposedly made with the female body in mind. The deodorant is also quite gritty, so sometimes it feels more like you're scrubbing your pits than applying deodorant.
Final part of the review: massage bars & lipbalms. There is no contest: Hurraw! Balm has every other one beaten hands down. These ones have the same nearly scrub-texture as the deodorant. It does work once it's warmed up a bit, but there's no contest, both in taste, texture and options Hurraw is better. I've recently come to like their Moon Balm especially, it has a really subtle taste with chamomile and vanilla. The North Coast gift-package also had some massage bars. Or maybe they're body butter, they feel like a thicker version of the Lush ones I already have. I prefer the Lush ones, because the other ones are more of a cream than an oil after you've warmed them up. So far my sister and I share a love for Lush's Each Peach, and I also quite liked the valentine special from a year back (Dusk Till Down). The other ones I tried weren't a success, though my sister likes the one with the flowers (Therapy) a lot as well. I think the one with the beans on top (Wiccy Magic Muscles) smells way too heavy, but it is also a lifesaver when you have sour muscles or a persistent chest-cold. And then you really don't care about the eucalyptus anymore.
Oh, right, I forget to tell you: there's a reason why natural deodorants and care products might be a good idea. What you put on your skin, your body will absorb. I am not of the "If I can't eat it, I don't put it on my skin"-type, but I do try and be reasonable. You will have also noticed that I try and use deodorants in stick-form. I avoid the sprays. If they are'nt worse for you, then they're worse for the environment. I always thought hair in armpits would get in the way, but it did not, not even in my most anti-grooming of periods and for some reason men are also huge fan of the creamy stick things and they are always worse then me at my least groomed. So let's all not inhale sprays together.
PS. I will retry Urtekram and Weleda some time soon. The first one reformulated some of their deodorants and added new scents as well as a creamy one (and cream like the Hauschka one usually works better for me than the crystal ones). And the second one, well, I did use that for a year or two without too many complaints so maybe I should reconsider.
January 22nd, 2015
This is just a quick post. But you should listen to both of these. I don't know what to think as a huge Pet Shop Boys fan and more of a "liker of Bruce Springsteen in theory because of his political activism and messages in his songs" than someone who actually listens to his music on a regular basis. But this was incredible to hear together, I love both of the songs, and everybody should get Electric and listen to it. It is their best album in years and years! And the differences with the Springsteen original are remarkable. It's exactly the same song, but also, as Python would have it, something completely different. I guess that's the point of covers, but I thought this was an especially good and inspiring cover.
January 15th, 2015
When I throw parties, it's usually Italian food, because pasta is the best! And so is pizza. And caprese salad. And minestrone. Did I mention you can serve caprese on a stick? It's very easy once you make the mozzarella I yammered on and on about in a previous post. It is one of the easiest but also tastiest vegan cheese recipes. I went to Rome once, in my pre-vegan days, but I did eat a lot of soya-gelato, because it's everywhere there, and it was the first time I tasted a non-dairy gelato that was good. Not "tasting like bean" good, but actually properly good. Rome is also the place where I saw the most inspiring or spiritual place I have ever seen in my life, so I guess I owe the city a little something. Or maybe the Italians are just my kind of people, both in looks and temperament (we have a lot in common). I may have had the cliché, let's generously call it "polyamorously inclined" Italian fling way back when, but I can't find too much fault with him, because he's one of the two people wo ever properly cooked for me with love and affection and without me having to lift a finger (or get out of bed and into clothes). In my defense, I cooked for at least ten men without expecting anything in return, so don't accuse me of being high maintenance, sometimes it's just nice to share the maintenance and romance in turns, ok! And the we haven't even started on Italian movies that involve food (and Tilda Swinton and men with unscrupulously depicted, beautiful bodies), just WOW!
Another recent international discovery is spanakopita. I got to know it because in my teens (think age 13/14) I had a shameful love of the sisterhood of the traveling pants, and in it spanakopita is mentioned (because one of the main characters is Greek-American). So I guess the book taught me that awkward underage teenage sex is only interesting when you are yourself an awkward pre-teen, but that pastry lasts forever. Just like the thing I took away from Veronica Mars is that I will gladly take Leo D'Amato off her hands if she is not interested. Greek-Italian? Where do I sign op! Ok, rambling. Spanakopita! This one is approved by Terry Hope Romero's Greek husband, has been since updated by her in an episode of Vegan Mashup, but the classic tofu one is still ridiculously delicious! I could not stop eating it even though they are quite heavy and about 80% olive oil. Which is precicely what makes them so good. I would definitely recommend this recipe to people unfamiliar with filo pastry, because it as a nice way to get acquainted. Before you go #GBBO crazy and make it yourself. I am not quite there yet but planning to.
Last but not least I will give you what happens when I see Nigella Lawson do something with whipped cream and decide to combine my meringue recipe with store bought rice whip. Freeze it and use it the next day, otherwise it will develop ice crystals. This should work with home-made coconut whipped cream but I can never get that to work. I gave you a meringue recipe way back when, make sure to really dry them out for this one though. I always add some lemon zest to the sauce, which is basically blend raspberries with vanilla and agave strained to remove all of the seeds. Really, nothing could be easier. I love it with chocolate chips and vanilla, but if you are a coffee fan it would certainly work with some instant espresso powder, some chocolate meringues or some completely different kind of sugary-cinnanon-cookie (and even more chocolate chips). The possibilities are endless, and all you need is a reliable (can be store-bought) vegan whipped cream and whatever you'd like to add to that. This recipe's an oldie but a goodie. You can make it as simple or as fancy as you want.
January 8th, 2015
Happy New Year! Just a quick one! I found out that if you use kombucha and frozen fruit, you can recreate and ice cream treat I used to get at a local ice cream store years back. I wasn't a fan of milkshakes back then either, but they did make a thing called a fruitshake, where they blended fizzy water with lots of sorbet. Especially strawberry was good. Last week I was craving ice-creamy dessert and had left-over frozen mango. And so I blended it with some mint and frozen strawberry topped off with kombucha. It tastes almost exactly the same (with a vague hint of kombucha-soapy-taste, it's actually really nice) as the fruitshake and with little stretch of the imagination, you could call it healthy. But even if it wasn't, you should go and make this, because it tastes really, really good! You do need kombucha for this, but I already gave you all the info you could ever need with that.
You just add the frozen fruit until the glass is filled and then top off with the kombucha, you can make it in any size container, or even directly in your blender, and it won't taste very different. Isn't that super smart? I use the same method for my morning-smoothies. A tiny bit of vanilla, or mint is also quite delicious. I sometimes add some drops of stevia is it isn't sweet enough. I especially recommend the cinnamon, coconut and vanilla flavored ones, because the mask the sometimes a bit chalky-herby stevia taste. Really delicious and vanilla is very multi-functional. You could even use the cinnamon one for tomato sauce if you want to give it a hint of Greece, Morocco or Mexico!
January 1st, 2015
So this will be a post with lots of pictures. I have made quite some recipes from Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese by now, with varying degrees of success, and I can honestly say there's no other vegan cheese book that can hold a candle to it. The Cheesy Vegan has a really nice though somewhat runny silken-tofu-based cream cheese that was gorgeous on bagels with chives, but the cheese I used as pizza topping and the blue cheese were both close to revolting. I will keep trying, see if I can find recipes in the book that work, because there are a lot of them and I have to applaud the comprehensiveness of the book, but it just pales in compassion to Artisan Vegan Cheese. So does the absolute classic The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. That's one of the first vegan cookbooks I ever tried, it was one of the three available in the library, and it put me off veganism for 3 years, until I decided that animal welfare meant more to me then the taste of cheese.
One should probably not triple Miyoko Schinner's recipe for mozzarella, especially not if it is used to make mini-mozarella, resulting in so many tiny mozarella-balls half of one's fridge is filled with them. Also, making them in those quantities means that it is hard to sufficiently heat the mixture, which results in a more spreadable, less melty mozzarella than something that would be ideal for putting on sticks. If you heat it properly it will become scarily similar in texture to dairy mozzarella (and in taste as well). The badly-heated one does make for a spreadable sandwich filling that is absolutely delicious though, and it actually reminded me of fresh goat's cheese. So "Elk nadeel heb z'n voordeel" ("Every con has its pro") as our famous Dutch soccer coach Johan Cruijff would say (I hate soccer). The cat, as you can see, agreed.
I am still getting the hang on most of the cheese-recipes, culturing things is a tricky business, and I am much better at kefir and kombucha then I am at rejuvelac, yoghurt or cheese. The mozzarella and brie are a happy exception, but most of it is tricky and many is the time that I've found moldy cheese, or forgotten about perfectly fine cheese and then have it turn angry and sour on me. One of the things I did manage to tackle in the end though, were rolls of chèvre. I desperately wanted to put those on top of a pizza with Daiya mozzarella, because it is the closest one could even come to my favourite pizza from pre-vegan days. This one, dare I say it, is better, if only because the sauce and dough on my version is actually handmade, proper, garlicky delicious, and not something dropped by a machine on something that's more cardboard that pizza-crust. Both my own coconut-milk-based cheesy spread and the cashew cheese on top of that are better than the original.
I don't want to be too negative about other vegan "cheese" books, they might work for you, but both with the Cheezy Vegan and the absolute classic Uncheese Cookbook, I pretty soon decided that I'd rather not eat anything then the things they claim will substitute cheese, maybe with the exception of a tweaked version of tofu feta. And it's unnecessary to eat bad cheese as a vegan, because there's lots of creamy sauces and cashew fondue and baked marinated tofu to be had that is not cheese per se, but that is tangy and delicious in its own right. Maybe even better then the original (and not just because it's healthier, definitely because of the taste as well)! If you are on the fence about Artisan Vegan Cheese, buy the VegNews Cheese Issue and see how it goes. It went amazing for me! Then you can decide if it's worth buying. The difference between that book and the others is of course the fermentation, because however much nutritional yeast, miso, salt, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, it just won't be fermented like cheese, and Miyoko Schinner's recipes actually are fermented like cheese! And especially with the lighter cheeses, like mozzarella and brie, that culturing adds precisely the right tang. I am currently air-drying a parmesan, so I'll let you know how that went. I am very excited about it, because it would be a great addition to my almost instant Nigella Lawson herb-lemon-cashew-sauce for recipes to make in a pinch. I should share that with you some day, as well as the fondue, but then you might realize how deceptively easy it is and no longer buy it from my sister, and that would be a shame. She really deserves the customers.
December 24th, 2014
I have tried to make my balcony more insect-friendly, mainly thinking about bats and (solitary) bees needing a place to crash for the winter, but this did not go exactly as I intended. While the bee-flowers were a huge hit, the bee-hotel was not a succes because it is still uninhabited. The same seems to be true for the bat-mobile (actually it's more of a bat-cave, should have called it that instead). From as close a distance as I dare examine it only spiders seem to be living there.
This could also be because of the killer (formerly: killers) also living on the balcony. The cat(s) ate quite a lot of the mosquitos and flies. In one case, Betty ate an entire bee to leave only its wings in the dirt. Could have been a fly, but the wings looked like a bee's to me. Don't even ask me how, but she seemed content with her achievement. She always does, even if she is too stupid to catch the huge mosquitos in my room and instead tries to catch fruit flies with an open paw. The fruit flies always win.
December 16th, 2014
There's way too much people out there discussing their morning make-up routine (mine consists mostly of not finding lip balm and then leaving the house without it, after taming the already reduced unruly eyebrows with some clear goo that can't be good for you), discussing what the must-haves are for next season or whatever super hip photocopier they've bought now, usually in top-5-format. I promise you this will not be one of those posts. We're doing this so I can refer to this post when people ask me what to cook for me, but also because I wish I'd known what cookbooks would've worked for me before I went vegan. There would have been way less collapsed tasteless lemon cupcakes with runny frosting. Also, can you believe it's been more than four-and-a-half years of veganism? I did not, but recently people started asking so I guessed five and was not that far off. Still really liking it, not planning to change anything about it, and making a morning smoothie that has all of the fats (chia and flax) and vitamins (blend the orange-ones from the vegan society through it, those are amazing) is a life saver if you are a forgetter of vitamins! But on with the reviewing.
The Mothern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley
Probably the best cookbook I've ever had. It's comprehensive. It's slightly macrobiotic. It is mostly vegan, but he makes a fair point about when he chooses to use animal products. He made me not only like, but love fennel. Need I say more?
Vegan Pie In the Sky, Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Listed in order of preference. They taught me how to bake. I credit them with much of the knowledge that makes me cringe whenever I see someone butchering a brownie by over-mixing. They have a very good troubleshooting-sections and general guidelines. Their recipes have so far failed me twice, which isn't a bad score considering that I've baked with them almost exclusively for 6 years (before I actually went vegan, I did a lot of vegan baking), sometimes making it up as I go along. These will help you understand every other baking recipe that much better. We will get into the gluten-free some other time, though there is a few gluten-free options in there.
Vedge by Kate Jacoby and Richard Landau
Because I desperately hope to one day be sat down at a table with maybe some candles and preferably no flowers, and then be served a few dishes from this book. I'd like it to be a romantic thing, but it doesn't have to be. I really like the recipes, it's how I would cook if I were good enough to think of recipes like these by myself. The pictures were also a huge inspiration. The smashed potato is now a staple in this household.
Veganomicon by Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz
I was unsure if I should list this book, but I will, because it's a really good starting point. You could go quite far with just this book and nothing else. It has vegan desserts, general tips and guidelines, recipes for different occasions, from casserole to super-fast pasta, everything is there. I don't like it as much as Peter Berley's or Vedge, because it isn't always my kind of cooking, but it is straightforward and it has a lot of basic information. It would probably take some time for you to get bored cooking exclusively from this, not even sure if that would ever happen. Also, no nonsense with fake meats and cheeses, only some tofu and recipes for making seitan.
The last one was a toss up between Clean Food by Terry Walters and Everyday Raw Express by Matthew Kenney. But I have already raved about Clean Food and Clean Start and we will get back to those books in the future. I chose Raw Express not because I am a raw foodie, but because it is the perfect book to learn a bit about raw food. Learning about raw "cooking" techniques can really help you cook more diversely, with or without heat. Say what you will of the raw foodies (and there's plenty to say, both positive and negative), but they know their salads and healthy snacks and desserts. There's a raspberry parfait in there that is to die for. It is one of my favorite dessert recipes, and one of the easiest at that. And it takes 15 minutes to prepare. And it will woo whomever you're trying to woo, as long as you keep in mind that half a portion is enough to last you a week...
December 7th, 2014
Back when it was spring, my parents decided to remove a few things from the yard because they were taking up too much space. So I ended up rescuing one of the berry-plants on the balcony. So far it has produced five berries and seems to be a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. It is quite delicious, if a bit sour. I think the English word is loganberry.
The tree of enigma, also rescued from downstairs, has produced nothing at all so far and now seems to be slowly dying because of winter. So that's a bit sad. And I don't even know what it is yet.
The Japanese wineberry however turned out perfect! Little bit sour, not that many berries yet, but good. As you can see this was before the death of Fatty. She loved the balcony. I miss her coming in damp from the rain and then making the frog-like croaking noise as she wobbled or trotted up to you.
I hope the plants all survive the winter and produce more berries next year. Same with the mint. I did try to make everything winter-proof, but since this was the first time I tried to do so, I have no idea how that will go.
November 30th, 2014
Disclaimer: Let me preface this by admitting that I am not a lover of historic fiction (quite the opposite) nor of violence on screen (least of all graphically depicted). Also, I dismiss most any work because of its depiction of rape, since those depictions can be problematic and are not usually very nuanced. After reading Naomi Wolf's "Vagina" I am even more aware of how problematic the usual depiction is. I am a lover of science fiction, and if I read romance, it is usually accompanied by some sort of lizard (you know who I mean, this lizard makes everything better). I do have a thing for men in skirts though, as long as those are properly fitted and not too long. But I will take a kilt if that's the only thing on offer.
On to the "reviewing": we should start this by reading this article that convinced me I should watch Outlander. And oh, how this article hits the nail right on its head! You should also read this Salon article, because it is even better than that HuffPost one and it references an amazing article I had to read for my first term at uni. Also, penises. And thank you Mr. Dinklage and Mr. Harington for your gracious offer! I hope they take you up on it, then there might still be a chance that I'll start watching Game of Thrones.
Before this turns into me describing the physical attributes of the male lead of Outlander (fuck Men's Health, where can I get a Heughan of my own?), I should just point out that watching the series was eye-opening. It was also, as a former boyfriend (one of my favourites actually) once whispered to me "horror for vegans" when a tiny lamb was taken to be prepared for stew in the otherwise excellent movie "The American" (Clooney with very little clothes, the brilliant Violante Placido who is such a good and beautiful actor I nearly didn't look at Clooney, Dutch director Anton Corbijn, go watch it). In Outlander it was a boar-hunt and there was boar-revenge, but this only increased the level of horror. There are lots of things that are perhaps a bit of an acquired taste for one usually watching many races of people (from aforementioned lizards to my beloved Vulcans) being supremely evolved space-faring vegans. But as long as I get a kilt on Jamie that has on occasion been draped very enticingly over his all too perfectly sculpted legs, well, then I am willing to forgive almost anything. I might even be willing to forgive the series its complete and utter whiteness. I guess that is just the deal in the Scottish highlands (though if we are being this historically accurate, then I want shockingly hairy women and men) in the 18th century. But I look forward to a series with the same consideration for its female viewers that is not so uniformly white in its casting choices. What I am basically saying is: more Srgt. Fidel Best (this is a personal request, I would not be opposed to a towel as a Caribbean alternative to the kilt) and more Srgt. Camille Bordey looking at the awkward tall skinny British dude (this is a more general equal-rights-for-all demand).
Why is Outlander so important? Because it offers a new perspective on things. Why do I often feel, when watching it, as if I should look away, or am so overexcited that I make an embarrassing squealing noise? Well, I have no defense for Kirk-or-above-level-gorgeous-óverload in a setting where I don't have to force the gaze my way (as I have to with Kirk). When everything is simply displayed with someone of my gender and sexual orientation in mind, I am both captivated, obsessively excited and confused because it is such a new and unusual experience. The Salon-article was right, I am a scavenger used to taking images and framing them differently in my mind for my own nefarious purposes of sexual excitement. But with this I don't have to.
I had not realized that for (most straight) men, all media feels like watching Daniel Day-Lewis lick Gordon Warnecke. All of it, all time, for no reason at all. I have to search for these tiny snippets of excitement, or think really hard to objectify Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now (easier said than done, but doable). Or I am forced to find solace in terrible movies like Underworld: Rise of the Lycans to see a more easily objectifiable Michael Sheen (no relation, but begging for objectification). It's not even that I'm saying that you men should be objectified, trust me, I know how it feels, I would not wish it on anybody. It's just that sometimes, every once in a very little while, I'd like to be able to look at a man simply because he is exciting, aesthetically pleasing and mine for the visual taking, because of his body and the depiction thereof, and not because I should be impressed by how much of a well-thought-out boob-gazing protagonist and deep-thinking intelligent character he is! Knowing that there are no underpants underneath the kilt, that's all I ask for (to quote one of the English in Outlander: "The question of the kilt shall remain an enigma!"). I have read that there is still a wedding-night episode in store for me. To be honest, I have trouble focusing on anything else.
Ps. Hockey was once a brutal game more scary than mixed martial art is today! Haaaahahaha.
November 22nd, 2014
I wrote my final assignment for the brilliant course Audience & Spectatorship on The Wall (just as I did my Theatre Design graduation on the topic), but this time it was on the 1990's Live in Berlin version. It was a breath of fresh air after having to design a thing I was, in the end, not quite satisfied with. Not because I was unhappy with my work, but because there were a few problematic flaws with my plan and the way I looked at the original piece. In this assignment I remedied that. Besides the word count being way over the limit (yet not enough to connect the dots in the way I wanted to), my article did finally conclude that in the translation of the original concept album to performance, something was lost. But because of the transformative, almost ritual quality it gained by being performed in Berlin on top of an SS bunker in no man's land only shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall, it gained a meaning it never before or since had in live performance. I argued that the piece was, if not sight-specific, then something very close to it. There was also a lot of discussion of the visual elements of the piece (masks, wall, lighting, Hitler-esque satire) and I really enjoyed writing it, even if I wished I'd had even more time and definitely more words to spend on it. In the end I could not add my final note. So I have added my final note here for you to read because I enjoyed writing it so much. Imagine a 4000 word piece on the mechanics of audience perception and framing arguing the site-specificity of The Wall prefacing this final extra note.
Ps. I love Bryan Adams and when I grow up I want a still-good-looking-in-middle-age-vegan-rock-star-photographer of my own, that much is obvious. I think his rendition of "Empty Spaces/What shall we do now?" is the best version of that song ever performed and one of the high points of the performance in Berlin. I also think that lyric in "The Tide is Turning" is terrible and problematic, and very anti-climactic if compared to the rest of Adams' performance. It might all have been with the best intentions en within the spirit of the age, but the more I think about it the angrier I get about not being able to structurally eradicate problems like hunger and war on the planet. That said, Live Aid, Band Aid and USA for Africa (on the name alone a piece on the thin line between solidarity and colonialism could be written) were very effective in immediately alleviating a lot of suffering and raising money. So I am a cynic, but a happy one who has a lot of respect for what people tried back then even if I think we need to find a more structural way to combat global inequality and even if I totally agree with Depeche Mode's Alan Wilder's view on charity. Also, Geldof once slagged off The Wall in a cab driven by Roger Water's brother. It's a small world.
I have decided forgo analysing the extra song that is not on the original concept album but that is added to this performance (“The Tide is Turning” ),(1) because an entire book could be written on it within its socio-historical context. I would gladly analyse how it is somewhat problematic given the current state of affairs regarding the relationship between the East (or Asia) and the West (“…who owns the aces, the East or the West? This is the crap our children are learning, but oh, the tide is turning”).(2) And how the overly positive spirit surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the naiveté of the early nineties make it nearly unwatchable for someone my age. The people who have been protesting walls and divisions within nations in my youth have been Banksy,(3) and Merlijn van Twaalfhoven,(4) who make a different kind of statement. I was barely conceived at the time of The Wall Live in Berlin, so I have trouble pinpointing how this must have worked for the original concert-goers swept up in a fever of times changing and borders opening up. They were probably less cynical than I am now. Much could also be said, in the context of this song and performance, about the Bob-Geldof-Roger-Waters-connection, with Live Aid organiser Geldof portraying protagonist Pink in the movie-version of the Wall,(5) with Waters having written “The Tide is Turning” for Live Aid (but Geldof turning it down),(6) and with the at best ambivalent relationship between the two.(7) If we see the song in the context of its kindred charitable efforts like “Do They Know It’s Christmas”,(8) and “We Are The World”,(9) there is also a point to be made about a troubling missionary/colonialist attitude towards Africa in the 90's, similar to the point Aydemir makes in his excellent discussion on staging colonialism in the Africa Museum in Tervuren.(10) But then it would need its own three-thousand words and I have neither those words nor the tools to analyse the song properly with regards to spectatorship at this time.
- DVD: Roger Waters, “The Tide is Turning” in The Wall (Live in Berlin), DVD, (1990; Universal Music, 2003).
- Book: Banksy, Wall and Piece, (London: Random House UK, 2007).
- Online lecture: Merlijn van Twaalfhoven, VIDEO: Merlijn Twaalfhoven on reconnecting art and life, online lecture (30-10-2014) http://www.tedxamsterdam.com/2009/12/video-merlijn-twaalfhoven-on-reconnecting-art-and-life/
- DVD: Alan Parker, Pink Floyd: The Wall (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition), DVD, (Sony, 2005).
- Roger Waters, “The Tide is Turning” in The Wall (Live in Berlin).
- DVD: Julian Caidan, “Pink Floyd: Behind the Wall”, Pink Floyd: The Wall (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition), DVD, (Sony, 2005).
- Online video clip: Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, Do They Know it’s Christmas ~ Band Aid 1984, online video clip (20-10-2014) http://youtu.be/bjQzJAKxTrE
- Online video clip: United Support of Artists for Africa, USA for Africa - We are the World, online video clip (20-10-2014) http://youtu.be/M9BNoNFKCBI
- Article: Murat Aydemir. Staging Colonialism: The Mise-En-Scène of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium.
November 15th, 2014